Getting Organized: Keeping Track of Links and Book Recommendations

I’ve always been envious of bloggers who seem to so easily keep track of who recommended a book they’ve just read and reviewed. At one point, I was using the Zotero plugin for Firefox to keep track of blog posts that introduced me to books which were added to my TBR, but eventually I had so many bookmarks accumulated, it became overwhelming.

But today, as I looked at my resolve to face a month of upcoming deadlines with ease, I decided it would be very handy to get my online life organized. Zotero is a fabulous plugin, but it’s mainly a tool for researchers (by the way, if you’re a student writing your thesis or research papers and you use Firefox, you really should check it out – it helps you to collect, manage and cite your research sources).

So I decided to look at other Firefox add-ons, one thing lead to another, and I discovered Evernote.


Have you ever wanted something very specific to help you do something, then turned around and found the exact thing you were hoping for – and, to top it all off, it’s free? I get very excited and very happy when that happens, and I think it happened today when I discovered Evernote.

Here’s how I’m going to use Evernote to get my online life organized:

Tracking Book Recommendations

It will be handy for a lot of the things I’ll be doing online over the next few months, but it is, in particular, the answer to my “how on earth am I going to track who recommended what book to me?” dilemma.

My problem, you see, is that often I’ll read about a book, and decide to add it to my TBR pile, but by the time I get around to reading it, many, many months will usually have passed by. It’s only rarely that I remember who recommended a book. Yet, the majority of my reads these days are books that I discovered on other blogs. And when I talk about them here on MsBookish, I’d really like to be able to give credit for the find to the blogger whose post lead me to the book in the first place.

With Evernote, I can quickly add a web clipping of the title of a book to my Evernote account. Then, six months later, I just go to my “Books” notebook and search for the title and voila! there’s the URL of the blogger to whom I owe my latest great read!

I love that I can do this so easily. There’s a little bookmarklet that you drag to your bookmarks toolbar (in Firefox – if you’re using IE you have to right click your mouse, unfortunately). One click and away you go! And because my account is online (and also on my desktop – there’s a desktop install that syncs with your online account if you’d like), I can use it whether I’m on my desktop or on my netbook.

Instant Library List

The other thing I really like about Evernote is that there’s an iPhone app, which I’ve just downloaded. I’ve created another notebook (“Library”) and I’m planning to use it to add titles and call numbers of books that are available at my local library.

I can’t put a request for a book if it’s not checked out at my local branch, and my library website’s “list” feature doesn’t, for some reason, include the call numbers, not even when you print out your list, and not even though you can actually choose to sort by the call numbers!

Up until now, I’d been typing in titles and call numbers into a list app in my iPhone – not the most efficient or fastest way of doing things, but at least I always had my library list with me. Now, though, I won’t have to manually type anything in. I can just copy and paste titles and call numbers of books from my library’s website into notes on Evernote, and see all of this information on my iPhone!

Yes, I am a book geek. I love that I can now do this so easily.

Twitter Links

I’m on my iPhone a lot – even when I’m at home, if I’m away from my desktop PC, I’m usually online via my iPhone. On my desktop and netbook, I use Seesmic Desktop to access my Twitter account, but they haven’t released an iPhone app yet, so on my iPhone, I use Tweetdeck’s iPhone app. Which means I can’t sync between my desktop and my iPhone. So when someone tweets something interesting, (for example, a link to a giveaway that would be handy for my giveaway post on Sundays), I have to email the tweet to myself.

It’s cumbersome.

But Evernote lets me send tweets I want to save to my Evernote account! Very fabulous. Very easy.

I’m Aiming for “Easy and Effortless” in November

It’s the only way I’ll be able to handle all those deadlines. And things just got a whole lot easier and more effortless, I think!

I can already think of several more ways Evernote will come in handy (like sharing recipe finds with my husband so he can cook delicious stuff and blog about it). But I suspect my ideas are only the tip of the iceberg.

Are you using Evernote? I’d love to hear ways you’ve been using it. What other online or desktop tools do you use to help you stay organized with your blogging and your life?

11 thoughts on “Getting Organized: Keeping Track of Links and Book Recommendations

  1. Margot Kinberg

    Wow! I’m so impressed with all of the ways you’re organizing yourself! I’m going to have to try some of your tricks, that’s for sure. I’m especially curious about Zotero; it really would be nice to have a way to neatly organize recommendations.
    .-= Margot Kinberg´s last blog ..You cannot touch a flower… =-.

  2. Debbie

    Very cool! Right now I use GoodReads. I add a book to my To Read list and they have a field that you can put who recommended the book to you. What I was thinking about today that I want to do by highly doubt I will have time to go back is I want to tag books that I got for review, own or borrowed and what rating I gave. That way I would be able to easily find those books. One day :)
    .-= Debbie´s last blog ..Willoughby’s Return by Jane Odiwe =-.

  3. Audrey

    I’d never heard of Evernote, but it sounds pretty much exactly like what I also have been looking for. I’m going to download it now.
    Even though I don’t have an iphone (or a cell phone at all, actually) and therefore have no use of those apps.
    I wish you an easy and effortless november!
    .-= Audrey´s last blog ..Review: Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa =-.

  4. rhapsodyinbooks

    What a great post! I can’t wait to check out all these tools. It is exciting when you find one that meets your needs exactly, as you have found with Evernote. And really, what a great resolution to get more organized. Can we wait until New Years to start our resolution? No, just kidding! I’ll check these out as soon as I get organized enough to have enough time! Kidding again….
    .-= rhapsodyinbooks´s last blog ..Review of “The Bridal Wreath,” Volume I of the Kristin Lavransdatter Trilogy by Sigrid Undset and Translated by Tiina Nunnally =-.

  5. Josh

    Great post! I’d recommend also taking a look at Springpad which is an online personal organizer to make your life easier. Besides easily clipping items you want to remember and organize from them web, such as books to read, you can go a step further to share and follow items posted by your friends and followers. Some of the other applications include a date planner, receipt manager, and task list manager. One of its more useful applications is a free online recipe box to collect, find, and share any recipe from any website. You can then easily take any recipes you like from your collection and put them into Springpad’s weekly meal planner which automatically generates a shopping list based on the ingredients. Check it out at

  6. Pingback: Saturday Randomness: Halloween, NaNoWriMo, Twitter, Food and Comments - Ms. Bookish

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